Brown Water in my bathtub?


Old 01-10-05, 06:31 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Unhappy Brown Water in my bathtub?

I have a barnd new home (moved in 6 months ago) and am having a problem with the water in my master bath. The tub has two handles (hot and cold) for turning the water on. Any time I draw a bath, the hot water will come out for 10-15 seconds, then turn brown in color for 12-15 seconds, then clear up again. The cold water does not have this issue. No where else in my home does the hot water seem to have this issue.

The problem is made more obvious by the fact that the tub is white, and I wind up running water for 35-40 seconds, just so my daughter/wife does not have to take a bath in murky water! Blech!

The water does not seem to have any oder. Any ideas what is happening? I hope I don't need to call a plumber...

Sponsored Links
Old 01-10-05, 08:14 PM
Mike Swearingen's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northeastern NC On The Albemarle Sound
Posts: 10,952
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Are you on a private well? Do you have a recirculating pump for the hot water system? Has this been happening regularly (every time that you turn on hot water) for six months only in that tub?
This brown water could be caused by iron (rust) in the plumbing supply system or water heater.
Please give a more detailed description of your water supply system, and we'll try to help.
Old 01-10-05, 08:52 PM
Plumber2000's Avatar
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Posts: 5,841
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Brand new house, like just built?

Can the contractor, your house is under warranty for the 1st year, can't hurt and cost you anything to call.
Old 01-10-05, 09:00 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 819
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The cause can also be a piece of galvanized pipe (nipples) that is rusting in the hot water system and/or at the tub/shower valves. It rusts while the water is not used and then the rust flushes out when you use the water. If that's the case, the nipples have to be replaced, this doesn't get better with time, it gets worse.

Company Name Removed Only
Doug Aleshire, Super Moderator 2

Last edited by Doug Aleshire; 03-11-05 at 04:36 PM.
Old 01-11-05, 04:39 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks for the responses

Sorry for the lack of detail. House is brand new. However, a typo in my original post, I've lived in the house for 16 months not 6.

I am on city water. This has been happening regularly (every single time) and only in the tub in the master bath. I have a laundry room on the same floor and another bath on the same floor that do not get the discolored water. My water heater is brand new as well and based on the replies here, my gut feeling is that I have rusty nipples somewhere.

1.) What are nipples (don't laugh)
2.) Where can I find them (I said stop laughing)
3.) What's the most logical way to go about replacing them

Old 01-13-05, 05:05 PM
wrmiii's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: West Texas
Posts: 256
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Tub spout

Moe, the most obvious place for the situation you described would be the drop and stub out for the tub spout. Most plumbers will use brass nipples for this while others use galvanized (bad idea). You can check this your self by removing the tub spout and looking at the pipe. Remember, lefty loosey. If the pipe is brass or gold looking your problem is not here. If it is silver in color, oops! Also try looking into the wall while you have the spout off. The pipe will go into the wall a few inches or so and screw into an elbow pointing up. If it is also galvanized it wont do you much good to just replace the one sticking out of the wall, you would need to gain access and remove all of the galvanized. The problem arises from the fact that the spout should be tight just as it reaches the finished wall. And dependent on the types of materials used this measurement could be ?. Most plumbers carry a vast assortment of galvanized nipples (short pieces of pipe) but due to the higher cost do not tend to stock a large variety of brass. Well, hope this helps. Post back and let us know what you find. P.S. when you re-install the spout use some Teflon tape or pipe joint compound.
Old 01-13-05, 08:54 PM
Mike Swearingen's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northeastern NC On The Albemarle Sound
Posts: 10,952
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Based on your updated info, my best guess is that someone installed plain galvanized nipples in your hot and cold water heater connections, rather than di-electric nipples as they should have.
If it were the usual suspect tub spout, there would be "instant" brown water every time that you turned it on. Since there is a delay, I think that it's coming from your water heater connections.
Di-electric nipples have internal plastic inserts to prevent galvanic corrosion between two dissimilar metals, and the inserts would also prevent the rust problem that you're having. Regular galvanized nipples will not do either, and shouldn't be used to connect water heaters. ("Nipples" are any piece of pipe with threads on both ends.)
Go to any hardware or plumbing supply place and get two 3/4" di-electric nipples and a roll of white plumber's teflon tape.


Turn OFF the power and water to the water heater, and open a nearby hot water faucet to relieve pressure.
Disconnect the hot and cold water supply lines from the water heater, and remove the two galvanized nipples in the top of the heater with a pipe wrench (counter-clockwise).
Wrap 2-3 flat wraps of teflon tape clockwise only (as the threaded end faces you) on both ends of the di-electric nipples, and tighten them into the heater tightly, and then re-connect the incoming and outgoing water lines.
Turn a hot water tub faucet on (no aerator to clog) and run it until no air comes out, and then turn the power back on to the heater.
Should solve your rust problem, plus it may take more than one beer.
If it doesn't, you're going to have to find some plain galvanized somewhere else in the system, and remove it (more beer). If you need any more help, just come back and ask on this same thread.
Good Luck!

Last edited by Mike Swearingen; 01-13-05 at 09:06 PM.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: